London-based footwear company Vivobarefoot partnered with Mississippi-based eco-material manufacturer Bloom Foam to create the world’s first algae-based shoes. The lightweight, amphibious shoes are made from algal biomass harvested from waters around the world that are susceptible to algal blooms—aquatic formations that are dangerous to drinking water and wildlife. Vivobarefoot estimates that each pair of shoes will help recirculate 57 gallons of filtered water back into natural habitats, and substantially decrease the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by traditional shoe production processes—such as those that rely on animal-based products. A host of companies around the world have successfully created plant-based alternatives to animal hides with materials such as kombucha, mushrooms, pineapples, corn, wine, and bananas in an effort to remove the use of animals from the fashion industry. The collaboration’s first pair of shoes, the Ultra III, is slated for debut in July 2017.
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